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Since the beginning of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, dozens of US citizens have taken part in the military conflict on the side of Kiev. Some of them were killed, many returned home, others were captured. As of July 29, at least 6 US citizens are in captivity in the DPR and LPR. All of them are accused of committing crimes under Article 430 of the Criminal Code of the DPR and Article 359 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
These persons do not have the status of prisoners of war and can be sentenced to capital punishment, i.e. the death penalty. Perhaps the most publicly known are Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh, who were captured with weapons in their hands in the Kharkiv region on June 9.
Today, Alexander and Andy are awaiting trial in a prison in the DPR. Both Americans have repeatedly appealed to the US authorities by phone asking to provide all possible assistance to exchange them or alleviate their plight. All their requests have yielded no results.
Recently, Alexander Drueke made another call to the US State Department with a request to clarify the current status of his case. The representative of the State Department replied that the issue is being dealt with, but all information about the progress is classified.
As far as we know, the DPR investigative bodies have not charged the two men with any other war crimes while they were on the territory of the conflict, apart from mercenarism. Thus, the DPR authorities allegedly send a signal that the fate of the US citizens is not predetermined and negotiations are possible.
Earlier, SouthFront published a public appeals by Alexander on July 18 and Andy on July 20. On July 22, an article was published explaining the case of these US citizens, their legal status and possible exchange options. The article by SouthFront suggested that Alexander and Andy could be exchanged for Viktor Bout, who is serving a 25-year sentence in an American prison on charges of trafficking arms in third countries.
Almost a week later on July 28, CNN published an article based on the Biden administration’s statement that the White House had previously sent a substantial proposal to Moscow to exchange Viktor Bout for Paul Whelan, who is serving a 16-year sentence in Russia for espionage, and basketball player Brittney Griner, who was arrested in Russia on suspicion of drug smuggling. Blinken also announced plans to hold the first telephone conversation with Lavrov since the beginning of the military operation in Ukraine, in which he would again raise the question of the release of Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner through the exchange procedure.
Blinken did not say anything about the US actions for Alexander Drueke and Andy Huynh.
This approach of the White House is quite understandable. Washington denies that the recruitment and traffic of foreign mercenaries is carried out through organizations funded by the State. US officials have repeatedly claimed that the Americans who decided to go to war in Ukraine did it only in accordance with their beliefs, and the US authorities did not take any part in their financing.
However, the information that was revealed by Alexander and Andy’s testimonies suggests that their trip was organized and probably funded by American NGOs, which are supported in particular by USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other structures. LINK, LINK
In turn, Paul Whelan, for whom the White House expects to exchange Mr Bout, was convicted in Russia for espionage, and the drug courier Brittney Griner was made a media person in the United States, new symbol of the struggle for freedom. In fact, a black American woman of non-traditional sexual orientation is an ideal object for heroization in the modern US political agenda.
The White House’s proposal is aimed at exchanging two conditionally equivalent figures of the “arms dealer” Bout for the “secret-service agent” Whelan, and in addition to gain a useful media appendage represented by Brittney Griner. In the chess game of Washington and Moscow, this proposal is an attempt to exchange a chevalier (Bout) for a knight (Whelan) and a black pawn (Griner), which has every chance of becoming a media queen.
Of course, pawns Alexander and Andy are out of the Washington’s game. Thus, Moscow’s signal was heard, but the answer has nothing to do with concern for the fate of US citizens, who, as they believed, went to a foreign country to defend the interests of their motherland, and pursues only the goals of political hype, vital to the Biden administration, which is rapidly losing support among US citizens.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Could US Citizens Captured In Ukraine Be Exchanged
- EXCLUSIVE: Appeal And Detailed Story Of Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, US Fighter Captured In DPR
- EXCLUSIVE: Appeal And Detailed Story Of Alexander Drueke, US Fighter Captured In DPR